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Service design is a multidisciplinary method that helps organisations create incredible experiences for their clients. It is a human centered process that turns time, tasks, logistics, behaviors and information into services that benefit products and customer experience. A service designer creates the alignment between a client’s expectations and business’s services to produce pleasurable interactions. In other words, a service designer creates experiences that feel good when clients interact with a brand.

Design New Services For A New Society
Society is currently undergoing a massive change. Business offerings are shifting, and customer expectations are changing. Historically service design has helped companies with their digital transformation journeys. Now the potential is there to not only design new services but help with the ongoing process of transforming our society.

There are techniques used in service design that assist with systemic change. Designers have the skills to start and then maintain conversations with customers and clients. This communication helps businesses understand the changing needs of not only their direct customers, but also tap into what is happening on a societal level.

If a business can tap into solving larger cultural issues, they are able to extend their customer base and influence a population at large. When we start observing our customers, we can begin to understand the dynamics between people, industries and social conditions. Taking a human centered approach to designing services is key to innovating faster and taking a proactive lead in creating new markets.

In our current environment of rapid digital transformation, the level of opportunity is unprecedented. At this moment in history we can not only design new services, we can design new industries. The shift has moved from designing a new service for an industry, to designing a new industry to fit a service.

The Four Services To Focus On Now
We live in a world where traditional industry practices are being superseded by the efficiency and speed of digital products and services. Fundamentally every business should focus on digital transformation as a priority. And within the digital transformation journey there are four core services that companies should focus on now to create a successful outcome.

Our current reality is digital first. However even as restrictions start to relax the role that digital plays will become the ‘new normal’ for businesses. There are also shifting attitudes and expectations around ethical business practices. Human centered digital services can become a disruptive force for good. Digital can democratise services by facilitating the birth of new pricing policies and ethics for consumers. Now is not the time to wait, now is the time to produce the industry standards that suit this new era.

Empathic Customer Service
Customer service is fundamentally about empathy. In digital environments people expect to speak with brands to solve their problems as they are happening. The days of lodging a complaint or question and then waiting for days for an answer are over. Companies must be prepared to communicate quickly and effectively with their customers in real time. This also means a shift from reactive to proactive problem solving. Customer service in the digital age means tracking movements online to prevent problems before they happen.

Health startups are at the forefront of this new preventative on customer service. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the opportunity to introduce telemedicine as a scalable offer to treat patients when they are ill, but also provide more touch points to assist with the prevention of becoming ill in the first place.

Community As Business Intelligence
Collaboration is an excellent way for companies and clients to support each other to discover new solutions to old problems. This is part of being in an ‘always beta’ culture. ‘Beta’ refers to a digital service that is still in the testing phase. Creating a culture of continuously testing new services allows organisations to stay ahead of trends by testing with live users. This is more effective than waiting to launch a fully formed product. Now is the perfect time to offer incentives such as discounts or gifts for users to become testers so businesses can experiment with new ideas in an ongoing fashion.

Branding As Service
To be successful in the online environment brands need to create a persona that their users interact with. They should feel friendly, kind and supportive. In order to do that, companies must create total alignment between all facets of communication across all channels. From the user’s perspective it should not feel different to interact with the brand website, app or customer service center. This way the brand, product and communication are totally integrated in all channels. One successful example of this is Airbnb. They use their entire customer facing brand as their service offering. A user can make purchases, leave a review and interact with hosts by asking questions all before making the decision to book. While they are all different departments, from the user’s perspective the experience is seamless and feels consistent.

Service design is fundamental to keeping your clients and customers happy when they interact with you. Start thinking about how you can connect with your audience in valuable ways. At the rate of change we are experiencing, a service you design now, could become an entirely new industry of the future. Do not wait to go deeper into the value you can provide!

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Chico Adelano

Head of Design &Innovation Echos Brazil

Chico has +20 years of experience in Design and Communication. He has a degree in Industrial Design from Mackenzie University, a postgraduate degree in Strategic Design from Istituto Europeo Di Design and a certificate with honor in Communication and Innovation from California State University of Northridge.

He carried out innovation projects for global brands such as Fiat, Jeep, Samsung, Nivea, Volvo, Walmart, Abbott, Honda and Kelloggs.

He has more than 60 awards at international creativity festivals such as Cannes, D&AD, El Ojo, Wave and One Show. As a highlight,
was shortlisted by Cannes Innovation Lions (maximum innovation award) in 2013, 2014 and 2015, winning in 2014 with
the Fiat Live Store project.

He is also the founder, coordinator and professor of the Digital Creation Direction specialization course at the British School of Creative Arts, linked to the University of Hertfordshire (UK).

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